Alex in The City: Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibit at The Brooklyn Museum

Me and a close friend/fellow blogger had the pleasure of seeing the Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibit at The Brooklyn Museum mere days before the exhibit closes!

Check out the video I made capturing the beautiful works of one of the greatest designers of our time.

There are even a few pieces that Beyonce has worn! When I saw the piece she wore at the Live at the Wynn Las Vegas concert I fell in love! There is also a photo that resembles some of the visuals from her latest album! Check out the video to see if you catch the picture I am taking about!

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Check out the video and to see more great pictures like the one above view the photo album on my Google + profile by clicking this link! –> Alex In The City- JPG

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The Exhibit is open until the 23rd! If you hurry you can still make it!

Love!

Alexandria
XOXO

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Alex In The City: Hill Harpers “Letters to an Incarcerated Brother” Book Signing and Conversation at Brooklyn Restoration

20131113-193907.jpgThis weekend I got to meet one of my favorite people, for a second time! You may have heard of him, he attended Harvard with our current President, he is a NYTimes best selling author, an actor (Covert affairs and my personal favorites were his cameos on The Game and his role opposite my SISTER Dr. Kerry Marisa Washington in for colored girls) and an activist and advocate and probably 6 other awesome things I can’t think of right now but most of all he is close to me as a person that I look to for guidance and inspiration through his work so much so that when I decided to build my own outlet, this very blog, I used one of his quotes as the headline on the home page.

Hill Harper.

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I met Hill for the first time at Essence Magazines annual Essence Music Festival in New Orleans. Hill was on a panel at the convention center and he took time after the panel to take photos and sign books. I have a funny story about how I got my book (The Conversation) signed that I won’t share the details of today but it was so worth it. When I heard hill was coming to Brooklyn I HAD to be there. Not to mention Brooklyn Restoration is so close to where I live.

I had just recommended Letters to an Incarcerated Brother to someone on twitter who was looking for a good read when I stumbled into the Greenlight bookstore to pick up a calendar of events that included Hills presentation. I immediately texted my friends inviting them to join because I was surely going and I was definitely buying the book.

What I love most about Hills books is that you don’t just read the book, you have homework to do afterward and you can always pass the book on and bless someone else’s life with it, unless of course its hand signed by Hill himself in which case you Share some integral passages via email with those you think my benefit from it in order to avoid having the person you loaned said autographed book to losing it without a trace (yes I’ve had an unanticipated parting with my first copy of the conversation).

Hills most recent book “Letters to an Incarcerated Brother” addresses the mass incarceration issue in the United States and more specifically in the African American and poor communities.

Hill began his presentation asserting that Mass Incarceration is an issue that no one talks about and later recounted part of his struggle with his publishing process was his fight with a publishing house that was convinced that this was an issue that Hills audience, or anyone for that matter, are not concerned with or interested in the issue.

He guided the audience to the first passage in the book; A letter from an imprisoned 16 year old boy that after reading Hills first book (Letters to a Young Brother) wrote Hill a very honest and moving letter from, but not in the usual fashion of moving and honest letters like we get from loved ones. The letter made it evident that the young man was writing and probably also reading at roughly a 4th grade reading level for an average American child. After reading the letter Hill recalled asking himself “Had he failed us or have we failed him.”

Thanks to Hills commitment to young men and women, to his community of readers and fans and his understanding of a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr,. he admits to carrying with him “We are all tied together in a garment of mutual destiny” Hill took a pay cut and put up a fight to publish this book and make it an agent for change.  You can purchase the book HERE. The book includes a list of prisons to send a copy to via the warden for the Prison library.

Check out my throwbacks with Hill and a few Photos from Saturday night Below !

 

 

love!

 

Alexandria!
XOXO

 

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At Night at BAM: Baldwins Nigger

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    On Monday evening I made my way to BAM to catch a series of Short films featuring James Baldwin and got more than a mouthful to talk about and share. The films: Baldwin’s Nigger and MyChildhood Part 2: James Baldwin’s Harlem were showcased as a part of BAM CInématek series A Time for Burning: Cinema of the Civil Rights Movement.
In these two short films, literary titan James Baldwin explores the perils of false consciousness and his coming of age in Harlem.”
-Summary of the event taken from http://www.bam.org/film/2013/baldwinshorts

Both films painted a portrait of classic Baldwin. Honest, profound, always eloquent and quite tormented by his own reality. I also found it great that these films were shown at the beginning of Harlem week!

I loved the beginning of Baldwins Nigger and its connection to the title of the film. Baldwin recounts an encounter with a West Indian Guard at a British Museum who asks Baldwin about his Ethnic Origins and becomes frustrated when Baldwin can only trace his lineage back two generations and 3 States, one being reduced to simply “Harlem”, not even identifying with the entirety of New York City, Let alone the entirety of the state. His history, like most African Americans was washed away and his only record of where he ‘came from’ is a bill of sale. As Baldwin so candidly put it, it wasn’t his fault that he had no way of knowing and it wasn’t the guards fault for not understanding but that didn’t make it any less real.

I loved this segment in particular because I have, in the modern day, had the same experience as Baldwin in that context. I have been approached on many occasions and asked about my ethnicity and really had no answer. It began in grade school as usual “What are you mixed with?” Then it followed me into adulthood, new friends and acquaintances and even patrons at work asking “Where’s your family from?” “Whats your background?” and the still common but not so mature way of asking “What are you mixed with?”

By this time I was already insecure, no, indignant about the fact that I did not know. I also wasn’t prepared to explain the history of Africans’ Diaspora (A gentle name for slavery and other crimes committed against humans in Africa) and how it resulted in me being American so I would respond kindly “Yes, I’m mixed. With my mother and my father.” In the event that I wasn’t trying to perfume the ugly stench that emanated from the ugly things that were done to my ancestors with humor and was taking the person who asked seriously, I would simply respond “I don’t know.” Other times I really wouldn’t be thinking about it and I would answer “I’m from West Palm Beach.”

While I’m typing this it seems hilarious on some level that I would say I’m from a city in South Florida and also very sad that I don’t have the luxury of knowing where I come from. I know my fathers family is from the Bahamas but they, of course, did not originate there. The fact is, I am an American, whether I like it or not. America is my home, English is my first language, the currency I carry about is dollars, I vote, I have never lived anywhere else and I believe that the Constitution is one of the greatest governing documents because it can be amended. I do consider my relationship as an African American to this country to be a bad romance but it is my home, as it was the Baldwins home, I suppose some time ago some white slave owner with the last name Johnson had his turn with my ancestors and now I can’t tell where I come from.

I have gone astray from the intention of this post but that is what happens when anyone speaks about the works and insight and grave honesty that Baldwin shared. I hope to make it back to BAM to see another segment of the series before it comes to an end and seeing that it will be my third visit in a month, I am seriously considering a membership!

I am glad I made the choice to go see these films and listen to the dialogue and Q&A lead by author Darryl Pinckney and scholar Rich Blint (Pictured Above) even after having left my wallet at work and racing home just with just enough time to make it back to BAM and grab a decent seat!

The A Time for Burning Series ends on August 28th and marks the Anniversary of the March on Washington.

You can watch Baldwins Nigger here!

Thanks for reading about my adventures and realities!

LOVE,

Zan

Photos from my first weeks in NYC!

I have soooooooo been meaning to update this blog in the last few weeks but all I’ve been doing is GOING GOING GOING! Fret not my loves! i have taken plenty a picture along the way. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so consider yourselves served with a new post!!!!

 

 

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